"BRESSINGHAM, is a large scattered village, on the north side of the open vale of the Waveney, 2 miles W. by N. of Diss, and has in its parish 647 inhabitants, and 2287A. of land, lying mostly in the Duke of Norfolk's manors of Bressingham and Boyland, (fines arbitrary,) and partly in the rectory manor, and Buckenham Priory manor. L. Palmer, Esq., is lord of the latter. Boyland Hall, an ancient mansion, with a large farm, is the Duke's property, and was built by Sir Richard de Boyland, an itinerant judge of the time of Edward I., who formed here a subterraneous walk, or conduit, by which water was brought to his baths and moats from an overflowing well, which still remains. The Church (St. John the Baptist,) was rebuilt by Sir Roger Pilkington, in 1526, and repaired after the civil wars. It is a large structure, with a fine tower and five bells. The east window has four figures in stained glass. The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £15, is in the gift of the Duke of Norfolk, and incumbency of the Rev. G.H.C. Bidwell, A.B., who has 36A. 12P. of glebe, a handsome Rectory-House, built in 1842, and a yearly rent of £613, awarded in 1843 in lieu of tithes." [William White, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) - Transcription copyright © Ann Duncan]


See also Bessingham.



Church of St John the Baptist
Transcriptions of gravestones in the churchyard.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Cemeteries


Church Directories

  • In 1883 the parish was in the Deanery of Redenhall, in the archdeaconry of Norfolk.
    It could have been in a different deanery or archdeaconry both before and after this date.
  • The parish church is dedicated to St John the Baptist.

Church History

Church of St John the Baptist
Description and pictures.
Church of St John the Baptist
Services, etc.
Cotton, Simon; and Tricker, Roy
St John the Baptist, Bressingham: a brief guide.
[Norfolk Churches Trust, 1980s]
Methodist Church
Minister, services, picture, etc.
Follow the link to the home page, then search for the church.

Church Records

Campling, Arthur
Index of Marriages, Bressingham, 1559-1755.
[Norwich Local Studies Library, Handwritten document, 1930s]
These are included in Boyd's Marriage Index.
They are not included in Phillimore's Marriage Registers.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Church Records


Civil Registration

For the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths between 1837 and 1902 (and for the censuses of 1851 to 1901), Bressingham was in Guiltcross Registration District.

This district was abolished on 1st April 1902 and, from then until 1930, Bressingham was in Depwade Registration District for civil registration.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Civil Registration


Description & Travel

Bressingham and Fersfield
Parish council, organisations, news, pictures, etc.
Handy, Elizabeth
Behind the view: portraits of a Norfolk village, Bressingham, then and now.
[ISBN 0952754908, Bressingham, 1996]
Bressingham Common Smock Mill
Description, history and map.
Bressingham Fen Street Smock Mill
Description, history and picture.
Bressingham Lopham Road Smock Mill
Description, history and picture.
Bloom, Alan
Steam alive: the story of Bressingham steam museum.
[ISBN 0948251565, Picton Publishing, 1992]

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Bressingham which are provided by:




Historical Geography

Bressingham is in Diss Hundred.

Parish outline and location.
See Parish Map for Diss Hundred
Description of Diss Hundred
1845: White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk

You can see the administrative areas in which Bressingham has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Land & Property

Great Britain: Statute
Bressingham and Fersfield Inclosure Act, 1799.
An act for dividing, allotting, and inclosing, the Lammas meadows, fen grounds, commons, and waste lands, within the parishes of Bressingham and Fersfield, in the county of Norfolk, and for extinguishing all rights of common, sheepwalk, and shackage, in, over, and upon, all the lands and grounds within the said parishes.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Land and Property



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TM083814 (Lat/Lon: 52.390844, 1.060349), Bressingham which are provided by:


Military Records

War Memorial
World Wars 1 and 2.
This is a link to an archived copy.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Military Records


Poor Houses, Poor Law



These figures are from the population tables which were produced after the 10-yearly national censuses. The "Families" heading includes families and single occupiers.

Year   Inhabited
Families Population
1801   75 108 650
1811   84 122 635
1821   88 126 702
1831   91 155 655
1841 132 -- 647
1851 145 -- 674
Year   Inhabited
Families Population
1861 137 -- 596
1871 138 138 595
1881 125 125 509
1891 124 124 553
1901 118 118 482
1911 -- 129 504

There may be more people living in detached parts of the parish (if there were any) and, if so, the number may or may not be included in the figures above. It is quite difficult to be sure from the population tables.

1831 Census
"The Parish of Bressingham has experienced a decrease of Population (47 Persons), partly attributed to Families emigrating to the United States."
1861 Census
"GUILTCROSS. The decrease of population in most of the parishes of this District is attributed partly to the migration of labourers to towns and manufacturing districts. In some parishes it has also been consequent upon the failure of hand-loom hemp-cloth weaving."
1901 Census
"Including Bressingham Common, and Fen Street."